In the Skin of a Lion

Lee Spinks

in Michael Ondaatje

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780719066320
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703113 | DOI:
In the Skin of a Lion

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter focuses on Ondaatje's second novel, In the Skin of a Lion, which marks the mature phase of his fiction and the rise in his literary profile. It identifies the reasons for this novel's popularity and determines that it was Ondaatje's commitment to the communal and material experience of labour which gave his version of this modernist aesthetic belief a more distinct ethical dimension. The chapter also shows that this novel provides a memorial to a lost historical experience, as well as a complicated reworking of collective memory, and features an interesting counter-history of Canadian civic modernity.

Keywords: Skin of Lion; experience of labour; modernist aesthetic belief; ethical dimension; historical experience; collective memory; Canadian civic modernity

Chapter.  12459 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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